Photographic Vision & Style

One always hears about composition and the rule of thirds. It’s all about composition, focus & lighting for photographers & designers. And, I decided to do an exercise and put a rule of thirds grid over the work of a few famous artists. Sure enough – they followed the rule of thirds. 

lewisHine

The work of Lewis Hine are inspiring – his photo, above, speaks thousands of words, follows the rule of thirds, and reminds me to never be satisfied & to keep trying.

Georges de La Tour also inspires me – his painting, below, captures light and emotion in a style which instinctively informs mine.

stJosephCarpenterLaTourRuleOfThirds.jpg

Keeping them in mind along with the rule and it works well for me!

followTheRuleB

followTheRuleC

followThe RuleD

And, if you want to see more of our work: www.awesomephotos.co

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adding light…awesome

The macro R1C1 flash set up, part of the Nikon Creative Lighting System, provides the perfect portable solution to make detailed macro photos shine. This macro lighting unit is a great tool for precise food & botanical photography. The twin flash heads dramatically light culinary ingredients and complex floral details.

As a professional photographer, one must be very concerned about light. The variable are numerous and complex. It’s wonderful to be able to develop a “lighting style” that is appealing and recognizable.

I prefer photos to be in sharp focus which requires a small f stop – f11 or higher. This small opening, combined with the length of the lens and subject to camera distance dramatically reduces the available light so it makes sense for me to add light – not bump up the iso too high. These strobes are great – literally small light boxes, attached to a ring which sits at the end of the lens. The lighting style is very contoured.  A wireless transmitter allows me to adjust the individual output.

4803_R1C1-Wireless-Close-Up-Speedlight-System_frontSome more info about the unit from the Nikon site:

http://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-products/product/flashes/r1c1-wireless-close-up-speedlight-system.html

People are typically curious abut this unit which adds a bit of substance to my camera’s footprint. I really enjoy taking the time to explain how this system works!!! From what I understand, the unit was originally developed for dental photography. I always shoot with my 105mm Nikon micro. If, for example, I am using the 85mm Nikon portrait lens, the R1C1 does not provide enough light. We are talking close.

Currently there is a Chihuly exhibit at the New York Botanical Gardens. Most of the photos I’ve noticed on NYBG’s FLICKR Group provide a broader point of view.  The photos above are fragraments of a blade of green glass from the Chihuly show.

A while back  I read a very interesting blog post from the New York Botanical Gardens. The author talked about a moss/fern spore that was used to make flash powder for view cameras in “the days of old.” Such an amazing connection between plants and photography.

And to see more of our work, visit: www.awesomephotos.co

 

Rewinds can be awesome…

I am consolidating my marketing, design & photography blogs here. This is from a post that is almost ten years old and I was curious to see how much of that discussion is still relevant today. You can decide!!! Years ago, I was invited to discuss entrepreneurship with an MBA class at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven, Connecticut. While preparing my presentation for the class, I compiled a list of resources for the students and all the “do it yourself” entrepreneurs out there:

Pioneers who innovate must have a clear vision of their venture, be able to manage cash creatively or “bootstrap”, and have persuasive ability. Inspiration below is still a click away from many of the links above:

Moore’s Law | Internet Marketing | Required Reading

Moore’s law defines a trend in the computing hardware industry. Gordon E. Moore, co-founder of Intel described the exponential increase in the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit – the amount doubled approximately every two years and continues to do so. Eventually nano technologies may halt this trend but for now we are still surrounded by technological innovation growing at an accelerated pace.

NPR  introduced  and still broadcasts a  segment of All Things Considered called All Tech Considered. Yesterday, they  discussed cellular phone applications. The intro made this point…by the time you can understand and deploy technology labeled with a new ACRONYM…the technology has already changed…maybe not quite that fast but you get the picture. Processing speed, memory capacity, and even the number of pixels in digital cameras comply with Moore’s Law and technology innovation still grows at an accelerated pace. I, of course, say “make the wave don’t wait for it.”

    Innovation | Adaptation | Marketing

Innovation | Adaptation | Marketing

I prefer having the latest and best tools in an easy to access interface and find it inefficient to hop from website to website to website to get all the necessary actionable insights when developing the best strategy for a client. Yet, sometimes you simply must switch lenses. Workflow is very important. In Photography, it is also important to view the same information from varying perspectives. It is easy to create new perspectives – just change lenses- shift your position and a good camera will reward you with a compelling picture.

Internet Marketing should work the same way. Selecting the “right” internet marketing agnecy, one that instinctively and intentionally embraces Moore’s Law can put your organization at the start of the curve, not at the end. Even if innovation is not a core component of your marketing strategy, entrusting your internet marketing campaign to a Moore’s Law compliant firm makes good business sense. 

And, if you want to see more of our work visit: www.awesomephotos.co

 

It’s thrilling to win a design award…

Jon & Michele Vallee are perfect clients…fun, smart & accessible. They asked me to design a box for their award-winning rum cakes. We worked hard together to create beautiful packaging for the small, medium and large cakes. I love the way the boxes stack together to form “a lighthouse”. Everything about this shouts “award winner”!

This tower is tops – a small, medium and large cake in choice of flavors, attractively gift boxed.

towerFB copy

Keystone Paper and Box Company in Windsor CT, produced the box and wished to enter the design in a national contest. The  box design placed in the competition.

Needless to say, we are thrilled. You can read more at:
http://paperbox.org/Programs-Events/Carton-Competition/2014-Award-Winners

Lighthouse Rum Cakes is gearing up for another phenomenally busy holiday gift season. It’s very easy to order 24/7 on their website: www.lighthouserumcakes.com

Please be sure to visit soon!

Presentation on Photographic Vision

Recently, I had the opportunity to present a talk to the North Haven Camera Club. Everyone was very nice and interested in what I had to say. Here are a few takeaways from my talk:

Artists who are Sources of Inspiration:

David duChemin: vision moves you to pick up camera, determines what you look at, determines what you see, determines how/why you shoot, finding & expressing vision is a journey. Take time to reflect: list what you love in general, then be specific, then more specific & drill down deep …look at your photos do they reflect your vision?

Alain Birot:

  • one can be inspired w/o being creative
  • one can be both w/o a vision
  • one can have a vision w/o a style
  • to be meaningful, a vision needs to be expressed  through a personal style

Georgia O’Keeffe
Art Wolfe
Robert Mapplethorpe
Robert Llewellyn

Sources of Knowledge

stanford.edu   |   techy     CS178 Digital Photography
lynda.com*
PhotoPlus Expo – Oct. 2016 NYC

International Center of Photography* 
New York Botanical Gardens*
Allen Rokach  
Southern Connecticut State University – Advanced Digital Photography* -Art Dept.

*also a source of inspiration

And, if you want to see more of our work: www.awesomephotos.co

Awesome Corporate Work

For the past few years,  I have been concentrating on Marketing & Design for several clients in the food service industry.

By providing comprehensive marketing support across all channels for Lighthouse Rum Cakes and Gelato Giulianaas well as other clients, I have developed a broad range of experience and skills, not limited to award-winning graphic design and photography.

These efforts are supported by continued study in Business Administration and front/back end marketing communications protocols. My business and design philosophy provides unconditional support and availability.

I have also developed marketing communications for technology & educational clients. It is particularly gratifying to have won several design and photography awards.

Below are several examples of corporate work in the educational & technology sectors…

 

And if you want to see more of our work: www.awesomephotos.co

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photography has more than 2 P’s

Right off the top of my head: preference, point of view, pose, practice, process and purpose. Surely one can think of many more.

Podium

This photo was shortlisted at IGPOTY Macro – total thrill!!!!

Let’s consider this quote which coincidentally involves more photography p’s “practice” and “perfect”:

“ Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

If you are reading this, you will probably be glad to know that “10,000 photographs” represents just the start for me…I probably passed that milestone years ago and now continue to output this quantity every few months between personal and professional projects.

Looking at my first roll of developed negatives in my “bathroom” darkroom nearly 40 years ago, one could say I was “hooked”…today, “immersed” is more accurate.   Before one presses the shutter, a tremendous amount of thought and planning typically goes into “making the photo” as opposed to “taking the photo.” I’ve enjoyed every step of this learning journey. Some professors said very kind things while others offered constructive criticism which often contributed to more rapid improvement.

jaws

So, frequently, I will revisit  a theme or object many times and definitely see an improvement. My floral botanicals today are composed, lit and focused better than they were let’s say ten years ago. And, once you know the subject, it is easier to show the qualities which make it unique. The passion flower, below, never ceases to attract and challenge me because although it appears to be a fairly uniform,  complex yet distinct  and colorful flower, the depth of the blossom presents numerous photographic challenges particularly when shooting macro with limited depth of field.

bluePassion

And, if you want to see more of our work: www.awesomephotos.co

 

How to get emotion & expression…..

This is a quote by a very famous photographer:

“ Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop. – Ansel Adams

I’ve also heard that it takes 1,000 photos for a National Geographic photographer to get one “keeper”. Composition, exposure and focus which is perhaps the easy part of photography. The challenge is to connect on an emotional level in addition to having the technical details spot on.

stephen8months

We were photographing Stephen slightly in advance of his christening, so he was all dressed up in the church and really eager to examine the bible that was open on the alter.  I totally love everything about this photo – especially his curiosity.

I just love this little angel girl – she is sweet & beautifu!!!!

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and her twin brother is equally sweet and cute – although he would hate to know that I think so!!!

noah copy

The most memorable compliment I’ve ever received was for a photo taken during a documentary photography course…my semester project subject was a “veterinary practice.”

Our vet kindly allowed me to photograph his practice once a week on “surgery day”…I did get a fairly interesting group of photos. One very strong image was the preparation for the dental cleaning of a cat…capturing the moment our vet injected the cat to induce sleep so he could perform a careful and thorough cleaning.  A classmate actually started to cry when she saw the photo. The negatives from this set of images have long been archived up in the attic and the hope remains of capturing an image with equal intensity.

The memory of my classmates’s comment is everlasting. On a lighter note, I brush my dog’s teeth every single day….our vet thinks this is great.

And, if you want to see more of our work: www.awesomephotos.co

Focus can be subjective…

Years ago, and this was in the days of film, my photography professor, looked at one of my flower photographs and tactfully “sniffed” a few barely audible words – “depth of field”. That is all he said and I knew right then that my photographic vision and style would be to have sharp focus in the image.

One reason I prefer Macro Photography is the isolation of a subject or detail. Many photographers prefer selective or soft focus and deliberately make adjustments to achieve this effect. This is the subjective part of focus – the point which the viewer is drawn to because it is most clear. Time and again, I just like it all clear & close…this is subjective.

I just prefer to capture reality and show a detail or two which is most expressive. This preference informs my style.

Below are two photos of the same subject,  which have a subtle but different focus. Which do you prefer?

focus

I prefer the one on the right…it’s sharper. Because the lens opening is smaller, I needed to add light to get the exposure.

In this case, one might need to zoom in to notice the difference. Interestingly, the digital camera’s sensor interprets/evaluates contrast with a combination of vertical and cross-type focus points. This is just the beginning of understanding and controlling focus.

And, if you want to see more of our work, visit www.awesomephotos.co